PROJECT LEADER: Matthieu Husson


Matthieu Husson, is a CNRS researcher in the History of Astral Sciences team at SYRTE laboratory (UMR 8630) in Paris Observatory. His work focuses on the history of astronomy and digital humanities. He is the PI of the ERC project ALFA (CoG 723085, 2017-2022) which addresses the Alfonsine astronomical tradition which dominated Europe from the end of the 13th century to the 16th century. He is also the scientific coordinator of the Digital Humanities project DISHAS which has developed, over the last 5 years, a set of digital tools to edit, analyse, and visualise sets of astronomical tables from traditions ranging from China to Europe working with a consortium of partners in Europe, India, China and New Zealand.

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While the development of textual criticism is at least several centuries old, criticism of non-discursive modes of expressions (tables and diagrams), especially in the history of astronomy, remains uncharted.  Building on the results of an ongoing research dedicated to tables, DISHAS/diagrams-Exploration will focus on  diagrams as visual heritage and vehicles for astronomical and mathematical arguments within the astral sciences. To this end, the project’s two main objectives are:

  • the development and implementation of computer vision approaches to diagrams, including primitive and text extraction, clustering, shape and colour analysis, able to identify clues in astronomical diagrams that are meaningful for analysis and edition
  • addressing the variety of functions and circulation modes of diagrams in the history of astronomy, by jointly analysing, on specific datasets, their epistemic and documentary aspects in astral sciences.

DISHAS/diagrams-Exploration is thus building ground results on the basis of which, it will be possible to address broader challenges and develop a genuine natively digital criticism of astronomical diagrams, taken to an unprecedented Afro-eurasian scale, disclosing otherwise inaccessible historical results. 


Mathieu Aubry (LIGM)

Samuel Gessner (ICHST, Lisboa)

Scott Trigg (DMA)